This issue picks up the Penguin storyline that was introduced last issue. As Charlotte, a gutsy news reporter, tracks down an arms smuggling ring, she ends up in the newly opened Iceberg Casino, an extravagant gambling spot owned by none other than the Oswald Cobblepot (aka The Penguin). Meanwhile, Batman is tracking down a killer who’s been bumping off Gotham criminals. It won’t be long before Charlotte and Batman’s paths cross.

This issue opens with the introduction of two new characters: Jill Hampton and Jack Houston (aka Chase and Snakeskin). The duo has their sights on a job the Penguin’s casino although what the job is remains unclear. In his research, Batman discovers that Snakeskin is the man he’s been tracking. While Charlotte, Chase and Snakeskin, and Batman continue to their individual paths, it’s clear that all of these storylines will quickly overlap at the casino.

While all of this is going on, the Penguin has assembled his own group of criminals who all appear to be new to the Batman universe with this New 52 relaunch. I don’t know how long this crew will stay around and not much info is given on their individual powers but with names like Gas Man and Mr. Combustible, it isn’t hard to guess. It seems that the crooks have been paying the Penguin to protect them from the killer.

As the story moves along all of these storylines predictably converge into the bowels of the Iceberg Casino where Batman ends up making a mistake that may cost his life or the life of a friend.

Tony S. Daniel, who is handling both writing and pencils on this series, continues to write a decent Batman story. And while it’s vague at times and a little unclear as to where Daniel is trying to get things to go, his story does have a few good plot twists, some fun scenes of Batman’s detective work, and plenty of action. However, in comparison with the utterly phenomenal work that Scott Snyder is doing over in the flagship ‘Batman’ title, the story here seems a little flat. I’m hoping that, with a possible showdown between Batman and the Penguin next issue, that Daniel will raise the bar. But as it stands now, I’ve had to lower my rating on this series to…

Verdict: Borrow

Written by TONY S. DANIEL